The Equation for Growth in Healthcare: Customer-Centricity, New Skills and Balancing Brand and Demand
Prophet recently hosted a healthcare leadership roundtable, moderated by John Ellett, focused on driving uncommon growth in healthcare today. Read the takeaways.
These were the takeaways from Prophet Healthcare’s leadership roundtable, moderated by John Ellett, which focused on driving uncommon growth in healthcare today.
- Ken Chaplin, City of Hope
- Lisa Smith, Merative
- Anthony Giordano, Sermo
- Olga Eskinazi, Kaia Health
- Joseph Ferry, Ceribell
- Beth A. Andrews, Dell
We convene for these discussions a few times a year so leaders from different subsectors and functions can compare notes and share insights. The latest session was all about growth – where it is coming from today, how senior marketers can make it happen and who needs to be on the team.
Key Takeaways for CMOs and Growth Leaders Across the Healthcare Ecosystem
Play the Long Game of Innovation
In healthcare, innovation takes many forms – from new product launches and optimized experiences, to M&A and business model innovation. But no matter the approach, and whether we’re talking about startups or large enterprises, innovation requires both a long-term perspective and a sense of timing. It can take years to develop, say, breakthrough technology, but if the market’s not ready for it, new offerings might not take off.
Relative to growth, innovation must be viewed in the context of core value propositions, as well as future impacts. That means knowing what really moves the business and understanding what innovation will deliver (e.g., future revenue gains, increased profitability, brand differentiation). The support of senior leadership is key to keeping the organization’s eyes on the prize across long time horizons.
Solve for Talent
Executives agree that talent is as important as ever, even as marketing becomes more tech-driven. A few firms were looking for more skilled strategists to set the direction for marketing. But more are looking for tactical and functional expertise to execute growth strategies. There was consensus that “even the best strategy needs worker bees.” Ideally, workers will be self-starters who understand big-picture objectives, think analytically and measure results. As with growth itself, there seems to be no such thing as too much talent.
Focus on The Perennial Value of Customer-Centricity
As much as marketing has changed, customers remain the perennial focus. Everyone agrees that customer insights should be the core of all growth strategies. But participants also noted that it’s easier to say “we’re customer-centric” than to integrate the voice of the customer throughout all brand and marketing efforts, especially when targeting new segments. Many felt CMOs are uniquely positioned to maintain the powerful link between such customer-centricity and growth, including building stronger customer communities. In fact, being a “customer advocate” might be the most important responsibility CMOs have.
Recognize it Takes a Network
As healthcare leaders face an ever-expanding range of growth possibilities, the importance of internal and external networks grows more important. Asking the right questions of mentors, peers and external advisors is key to staying ahead of important industry developments. Socializing and testing your own vision is just as important. A strong network can certainly provide tips and insights relative to engaging customers in new channels. On a larger scale, they can shed light on how new technologies, ecosystems and partnerships, as well as business models, will impact growth strategies over the longer term.
Balance Brand and Demand
Senior marketers and other growth-oriented leaders across industries are trying to balance brand-building and demand generation investments and activities. (Check out Prophet’s blog series on this very hot topic). Demand strategies are easier to measure, a huge advantage in the multi-channel digital world. However, because of the unique nature of healthcare where relationships are at a premium, brands remain critical to building trust with consumers and patients.
One participant mentioned the classic formula of “40% demand and 60% brand,” but the optimal balance will vary based on an organization’s customer base, growth strategy and market position, among other factors. Because both “brand builder” and “performance marketer” are inherent parts of their job descriptions, CMOs must continue seeking the right balance, and recognize that it will evolve continually along with market conditions.
From the most effective channels and platforms to new media that might emerge, to new rules for customer engagement, the only thing that seems certain about the future is that CMOs and growth leaders in healthcare will keep watching developments closely and comparing notes with peers and colleagues.